Suu Kyi makes history as she wins Myanmar polls

Apr 02, 2012, 11:58 IST | Agencies

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi won a seat in parliament yesterday, her party said, after a historic by-election that is testing Myanmar's nascent reform credentials and could convince the West to end sanctions.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party announced to loud cheers at its headquarters that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate had won in Kawhmu, south of the commercial capital Yangon, paving the way for her first role in government after a two decade struggle against dictatorship.

Winning hearts: Aung San Suu Kyi is surrounded by supporters and journalists as she visits a polling station in the constituency where she stands as a candidate in Kawhmu. Pic/AFP.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has won,” an NLD official announced, referring to Suu Kyi by her honorific title. Myanmar’s Election Commission has yet to confirm any results from the by-elections for 45 legislative seats.

The charismatic and wildly popular Suu Kyi, had complained last week of “irregularities”, though none significant enough to derail her party’s bid for 44 of the seats.

Suu Kyi made no immediate comment on her victory. From dawn, voters quietly filed into makeshift polling stations at schools, religious centres and community buildings, some gushing with excitement after casting ballots for the frail Suu Kyi, or “Aunty Suu” as she is affectionately known.

Among her supporters who voted early on Sunday in Suu Kyi’s rustic constituency, there was little doubt she would win. “My whole family voted for her and I am sure all relatives and friends of us will vote for her too,” said Naw Ohn Kyi, a farmer from Warthinkha.

“So far as my friends and I have checked, almost everyone we asked voted for Aunty Suu,” added Ko Myint Aung, a 27-year shop owner from Kawhmu.

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